“One for the Road” by Heather Dubrow

My sister always cleaned every drawer
within an inch of its life,
sorting the assorted, folding the laundered.
And hiding flasks beneath the scented sweaters
in case someone caught the scent on her breath
and cleaned out all her bottles.
The only AA she knew was American Airlines,
whose drinks carts came around too seldom
for her thirsts.

Yes, Robert Frost, two roads diverged in a wood
and I won the smoother, lighter path—
looking just like my sister.
looking away from my sister.

As a teenager, I called her “sister-child”
even though she was older
and couldn’t or wouldn’t say why
the only time she asked.

We both inherited the family gene
for housekeeping:
Mine kept the family home
serene and vetted,
she kept within her secreted house.
As adults, we lived in separate wings
and separate solar systems.
She locked her drawers shut, her life shuttered.
And I—forgive me, Eleanor, if you ever can—
strode by all your rooms and cellars so quickly,
and kept all my own doors fastened tight.

Heather Dubrow is the author of Forms and Hollows, Lost and Found Departments, and two chapbooks. The journals where her poetry has previously appeared include Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and the Yale Review. Two of her poems have been set to music and performed. Director of Fordham’s Poets Out Loud reading series 2009-2020, she holds the John D. Boyd, SJ, Chair in Poetic Imagination there and has also taught at Carleton College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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